Forced marriages could become illegal in Georgia

Coercion of marriage turns out to be a criminal offense by the new draft amendment. Photo credit, 04 Sep 2014 - 19:10, Tbilisi,Georgia

The old fashioned norm of arranged or forced marriages could soon become a illegal if changes to Georgian law are approved, resulting in a maximum penalty of four years imprisonment.

Parliament of Georgia today discussed the issue of forced or arranged marriages, addressed in amendments in the Criminal Code of Georgia. It was the third hearing on the issue within the country's legislative body.

According to the proposed changes, forcing a woman to get married following a deal between two sets of parents or abducting a woman to coerce her into marriage will become a criminal offence. If a person is found guilty of coercion of marriage, the person could be sentenced to 200-400 hours community service or two to four years imprisonment.

An automatic prison sentence of two to four years would be issued if this criminal act was knowingly committed against a minor.

Amendments to strengthen the laws against family violence and change societial perceptions and norms surrounding such issues have already been introduced to Parliament.